#189 Anything that gets you really, really sweaty

I’m no tennis pro.

Yet somehow this past weekend I got tricked into playing a game with my brother-in-law Dee. I hadn’t played tennis in years, but Dee and I managed to scrounge around my dad’s basement to find two wooden rackets and a tube of balls. Even though each tennis ball was sunfaded to its own unique shade of light green and the rackets were made before I was born, they managed to do the trick.

We played five minutes before losing two of the balls. I nailed one over the fence into a dense patch of shrubs and Dee hammered one behind the neighbor’s shed. But we kept going and managed to whack our remaining ball around for about forty-five minutes, slowly getting a little bit better, then a little bit better.

By the end we were wet sweaty messes. I had a bit of a Smiley Face on my T-shirt, with two dark sweatstains below my man-boobs and a big one over my apparently sweaty belly button. Foreheads dripping, sweatstaches glistening, we headed back to my parents’ place tired and satisfied.

And while collapsing on the couch and peeling off my sticky socks, I started thinking there sure is something great about anything that gets you really, really sweaty:

• Intergenerational dancing at wedding. We’ve chatted about this before but when you’re grooving with your six-year-old cousin or shaking your rumpa rumpa at the back of the conga line, you’re loving the late-night sweat-dancing that comes with shaking your well-dressed groove thing until late at night.

• Doing something that scares you. Maybe you’re rocking the sweaty armpits before writing a big math test, asking a girl to prom, or giving a speech at your daughter’s wedding. And sure, these things are stressful — but how good does it feel after you nail them and walk out clean the other side? Sweat marks the day.

• Chilling on the beach under the sun. Sure, we know too much sun ain’t great for you, but when those wavy rays are beating down while you’re playing in the waves, building sandcastles, or just lying around, well that’s a beautiful feeling. Let your skin glisten and be happy to soak it all in.

• Saunas. This is the laziest way to get sweaty. The only requirements are being able to sit on a towel. If you can do that, you pass, so just smile and enjoy the drips.

• Playing drums for two straights hours in a rock concert. Sometimes you see a drummer really going at it, wet hair flying everywhere, eyes squeezed shut, and glistening cheeks. I say these hardcore rockers deserve a bullet point all their own.

Yes, today we say that anything that gets you really, really sweaty feels pretty good. It’s a sign your body is cooling itself while engaging in something fun. Nerds even suggest sweating is great for you physically, too — opening up your pores like a fancy steam facial and containing a natural antibiotic that helps kill bacteria on your skin.

Push harder, reach higher, play stronger, live longer.


Photos from: here, here, and here

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#190 Making disgusting slurping noises while eating a really juicy peach

You can’t fake a peach.

Juice and candy companies keep trying with their Fuzzy Peach gummies and sugary peach drinks. But those molar-clogging sugar clumps never do the real peach justice. They’re an insult to peaches everywhere and mock the regal beauty of the Lord Of All Fruits.

Now there’s something beautiful about loudly slurping up a juicy peach in its prime.

It starts when you pick up the peach and notice it’s dark orange and pink and dented all over. “Here we go,” you say to your buddies down at the bus stop, planting your feet in the ground, steadying your grip.

“Let’s get juicy.”

You dive in teethfirst and feel that ripe flesh flashflood your mouth and fill your throat with a sweet and juicy waterfall. Drips start streaming onto your fingers so fast you might have to move to the Flying Saucer Landing move which involves tilting your head straight back and eating the peach above your mouth.

Rogue peach juice splashing in your eyes doesn’t stop so when you’re past the first few bites it’s time for the classic Sucker Fish Liplock where you cover the open wound of your peach and suck as much juice in as you can.

The final step now is the Dry Bone Breakoff, where you pull the last few chunks of peach flesh straight off the pit without leaving any peach molecules remaining. The opposite here is when the peach refuses to slide off the bone and you’re stuck with a wet-n-hairy peach pit.

Don’t forget to make a lot of noise and get into it. Grunts, squeals, and vacuum cleaner noises are all completely acceptable, just as long as you live for the moment, chomp for the memories, and slurp for your life.


Photos from: here, here, and here

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#191 That bend in the pipe under the sink

Keep the poo outside.

Hon, we all agreed on this hundreds of years ago and beyond when we scooted outside whenever nature called. Outhouses were the norm and everyone put on slippers and blindly stepped through flower gardens whenever they tinkled in the middle of the night.

The rules changed after public water supplies and pressurized well systems came round and we soon started outfitting our new pads with indoor plumbing. Sounds well and good? Well it was except for one big problem: the smell. Yes, it turns out that sticking pipes in your house and draining them straight into sewers makes your house smell like Fart Perfume.

Who knew?

Well, a guy named Alexander Cummings did and he thought of a great idea. “Let’s put a bend in the pipes,” he said. “That’ll trap water in the pipe which will block sewer smells from filling our homes.” Great idea, and as a side benefit if you ever drop a ruby ring or a diamond necklace down the drain, there’s a good chance it’ll get caught in that bend in the pipe and save your family jewels from traveling all the way to the ocean.

So take a whiff today and if your place smells great make sure you stop and take a moment to say thanks to Big Al from three hundred years ago for keeping the poo outside.


Photos from: here and here

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#192 A la moding anything

It happened last night.

Leslie and I were walking around a new neighborhood when we strolled past a giant restaurant window with a tall guy in a paper hat standing inside. He was swiping a tiny windshield wiper across a hot black circle and cooking up thin little crepes. Maybe I’m a bit simple but for me this was like watching something from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. My brain flashbacked to watching little sugar donuts float down Hot Oil Rapids at the supermarket when I was a kid. I also remember my poor kid brother Augustus falling into a chocolate river.

Anyway, we ran inside and ordered a crepe up for snacking. Paper Hat Man stuffed it with strawberries, poured chocolate sauce over it, and asked us the big question: “Would you like a scoop of ice cream on top?” Now, I don’t know where you come from, but where I’m at there’s a local bylaw stipulating that anybody ordering a giant crepe covered in chocolate sauce must say yes to the ice cream. You don’t want to get tossed in the slammer for screwing up dessert.

As you can imagine the creamy sauce-smeared crepe was deliciouser than delicious. It got me thinking that adding a scoop of ice cream — or a la moding anything — just makes most foods much better:

1. Pie. The classic. Apple pie without ice cream is just a hot and sticky mess. You need that ice cream to balance the flavors and mess your teeth up with hot and cold sensitivity. Word to your molars.

2. A glass of Coke. Turn that boring cup of fizz into an ice cream sundae with just one scoop. Let the vanilla scoop melt and swirl into bubbly creamy sips. If you’ve enjoyed a Coke Float before then you’ve lived a good life, my friend.

3. Waffles. Okay, now we’re back in the Crepe Family. (Note: other family members include pancakes and funnel cakes.) When you eat waffles a la mode make sure to let the ice cream soak into all those little squares. When you manage to add ice cream to breakfast you are officially the Champion of Breakfast.

4. Something weird that none of us have tried before but is probably delicious. Do you add ice cream to brownies, spaghetti, or maybe pineapple pizza? Hey, we’re not judging. No, we just want to learn from you. Because all we know is the  world of a la moding has no limits and sometimes off-the-wall ideas go a long way.

5. Birthday cake. There’s something indescribably delicious about the texture of warm-n-spongy-icing-smeared cake smushed together with freezing cold melty vanilla ice cream in your mouth. This is truly the Dream Team of tastes.

Yes, adding a scoop of ice cream to food makes it that much better.  So listen up boys and listen up girls. Let’s all hold hands and just a la mode the world.


Photos from: here, here, and here

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#193 The moment after the lightning and before the thunder

Here comes the rain.

Black clouds cover the sky before jumbo drops start pounding down all around you. Drenching clothes, splashing windows, everyone runs for cover with wet cheeks and rain hair.

And when giant cracks of lightning suddenly splinter the sky and fill everything with eyeball-searing flashes of bright white, it’s like holy cow. Did you see that?

The moment after the lightning is a little stomach flip of anticipation as you wait for the bass-roaring boom of thunder to land with a bang all around you. How big will it be? How far away was the lightning?

It’s completely humbling to see the world suddenly stop while Mother Nature has a screaming fit. When nothing matters except the storm you’re forced to soak into the zone. Hands tightly grip steering wheels, crowds huddle on porches, and we all stare out raindrop-streaked windows watching it all come down.


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#194 When insects are struggling to do something and you help them

Picture this.

You’re biking down the leaf-slicked sidestreets of your hometown when you suddenly lose your balance and fly head first over the handlebars straight into the curb. You smack it hard and are left lying in a twisted mess of bike chains and bloody legs.

But then! Just as the shock is setting in and you start getting your bearings, the clouds above you suddenly part and a giant hand reaches down from the heavens and picks you up and sets you on your feet. Then the hand zooms away and you’re left standing in the middle of the road all dazed and confused.

That’s what I picture it must have felt like to the upside-down beetle I flipped back over the other day. Yes, he was just lying on his back like a fool, arms and legs frantically pawing the air in a terrible attempt to flip over. Well I flicked him a bit and he flipped over before scampering away to safety.

Hey, sometimes insects just need our help.

Next time you release a fly from its Between-Sliding-Glass-Doors Prison or let a bumblebee banging its skull against your bedroom window buzz away, just stop to enjoy the moment of helping a fellow living thing out. After all, we’re all sharing the same planet, we’re all sharing the same sun, and it’s great helping an insect do something, so it can get its doing something done.


Photos from: here and here

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#195 Burps that taste good

I love burritos.

Wrap a chewy tortilla around a slopful of sticky beans, blackened chicken, and creamy guacamole and that’s a pretty fine lunch. Hey, squirt some sour cream in there, sprinkle grated cheese, and splat some salsa on and you just made it better.

Burritos are so delicious that I eat them as fast as possible. I don’t talk, I don’t blink, and I don’t breathe during my super-fast-super-chomp moments of gobbling down the goods. By the end I’m a heavy breathing mess with salsa streaks down my chin, rogue tin foil scraps on my shirt, and sweat dripping down my forehead.

I know it sounds like a pretty picture but the truth is I start filling with regret at this point. After all, I mean — I probably just parted with eight or nine bucks and the five-minute chowdown doesn’t seem worth the fat lump sitting my stomach. It’s a thousand calories for five minutes of tastiness. Somehow the math just doesn’t add up.

But that’s what makes it so great when a Burrito Ghost joins me about two hours later in the form of a deep burp  from 20,000 leagues deep in my stomach. Suddenly splashy scents of chopped tomatoes, cilantro-sprinkled rice, and spicy salsa join me for a brief reminder of the World’s Most Delicious Lunch.

Burgers, bruschetta, garlic bread — it doesn’t matter. Those flavor memories combine to form some serious meal nostalgia.

Oh sure, your snobby friends may say it’s disgusting.

But we all know it’s


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#196 Accidental snorts

You just sounded like a pig.


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#197 Chugging cold milk after chocolate cake

It’s like throat glue.

After you finish scraping the chocolate icing off the plate and fingering up every last crumb, it suddenly hits you that your entire face and mouth is smeared with the brown and pasty. Molars have new chocolate fillings, lips are smeared with sugary icing, and your whole throat is coated in a thin layer of the moist and delicious dessert.

Lean back on your creaky kitchen chair and feel the brown sugary molecules filling every crack and corner of your mouth. Rub your tongue around, close your eyes, and maybe swish your spit around for a l’il bit of homemade chocolate pudding.

And then get ready.

Because now it’s time to chug.

Pour a glass of ice-cold milk and send that White Rushing River screaming down your throat. Feel the cold rip into your cheeks and teeth and let those creamy rapids wash all the guilt away.


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#198 Becoming friends with the other guy who doesn’t know anyone here

Welcome to the place where nobody knows your name.

1. The Boring Party. You’re watching Saturday Night Live on the couch or hanging by the punch table at prom while everyone else dances up a sweat to The Power or Pump Up The Jam across the room. When that other guy plops on the couch or your fellow nerd in a math-themed T-shirt pulls up for a handful of chips, you know you just met your conversation buddy for the next hour.

2. The Wrong Age. Dragged to mom’s book club because the babysitter cancelled last minute, you were expecting a warm cup of grape juice and four boring hours in someone’s rocking-chair and doily-filled living room. But then another misplaced kid arrives, too! Since they also have no intention of discussing underlying themes of lust in The Handmaid’s Tale, you bond for an afternoon full of new toys and maybe The Neverending Story on TV.

3. The Office Social. You’re the new guy in accounts payable at the quarterly meeting or the fresh-faced college grad in a roomful of old farts. Since you don’t know anyone else it’s great when someone in the same boat swims up to you near the empty chairs at the back. Neither of you know anything so you get to figure it out together.

Yes, there’s something sweet about becoming friends with the other guy who doesn’t know anyone here. Sure, maybe circumstances threw your friendship together but that doesn’t mean it’s not real. Life is short, delicate, and fragile and some insta-bonding is good for the soul. Use all your old jokes, be a new you, and enjoy those short and simple moments with someone you’ve never seen before.


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